Group 2 Winning Sprinter for Churchill
The Group II Sapphire Stakes (5f) at the Curragh on Saturday was won by brilliant filly Ladies Church (3f Churchill x Rioticism, by Rio de Plata), who stamped herself as a serious sprinter when beating older rivals by a head.
Trained by Johnny Murtagh and ridden by Ben Coen, she charged late to nab race favourite Mooniesta on the line.
“We knew coming here today that she's a filly that shows plenty of pace. We had a hood on her before because she's keen but the pace of the race was always going to help her settle today,” said Murtagh.
“She's a huge filly and what she did at two is probably a bonus. She won her maiden and a Listed race. She was always going to be better at three. She's learning how to sprint and we're going to be brave with her now for the rest of the season. She's won a Group 2 so it's Group 1s all the way now.”
Purchased for 160,000 pounds from the Goffs Orby Yearling Sale by her trainer and Peter Nolan Bloodstock, Ladies Church made 62,000 guineas at the Tattersalls December Foal Sale the year before.
Ladies Church is the first foal for stakes-winning Rio de la Plata mare Rioticism and was the first stakes-winner for her sire last season.
She now has the overall record of three wins and three placings from eight starts and holds entries for a number of upcoming Group sprint races including the Group I Flying Five at The Curragh in September.
Ladies Church is one of five stakes-winners for Churchill, who returns to Australia this spring at a fee of $22,000.